Life: Plan, But Plan in Pencil

We can’t stay teenagers forever, believe me I have tried. We all wake up one day with kids and bills to pay and we say “How did I get here?”

When I was a teenager I had a part time job, no worries and no responsibilities.  My biggest problems were: what I was doing on the weekend, who was having the party, or when we would be  going to Philadelphia to drag race our cars or motorcycles. I had such a great time when I was a teenager. My so called “Plan A” was to go through life without responsibilities, to be able to jump on my Harley Davidson and go wherever I wanted, any time I wanted.

When I think back on my teenage years, I wish I had put more effort into my school work. I would say that I took easy classes that were not very challenging.  There were many days when the weather was nice and my buddies and I would leave school by 11 o’clock to go ride our motorcycles.

I often wonder how my life would have turned out if I took harder classes and went to college right after high school. I clearly remember my graduation day from high school. Everyone was so happy, saying “we are finally getting out of here!”  For me, it was one of the saddest days of my life. I was very depressed to be done with high school. I loved high school. My high school years were the time of my life.

However, that is not the path I took and my so-called “Plan B” went into effect.  After high school, I enlisted in the Army. I was eighteen and thought I knew everything about life. I figured I would serve 20 years in the Army and retire – sounds easy enough right?  I was eighteen, I was fearless and I could take on the world with one hand tied behind my back. That feeling continued for a few years. I was doing wild and crazy things because I had no fear and I only had to worry about me.

Then another new plan came along that would change my life – my first son was born. My fearless attitude went away real fast because it was not just me anymore. I had a child that I had to be there for, and I started thinking twice about the things I had done in the past. The next year, I had my second son, and eleven and a half months later, I had my daughter. I guess I can say this was my so-called “Plan C.” Three kids in three years. I felt like the luckiest man in the world. I had three beautiful and healthy children. All of a sudden that was all that mattered to me. At this time, I was still in the Army and my so called “Plan B” of doing 20 years was out the window. When my second enlistment was up in 2002, I chose to leave the military after 10 years.

I am happy to say that my so-called “Plan A” and “Plan B” fell through; however, I have no regrets about my life. I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Even if you don’t understand it at the time, there is a reason why things happen the way they do. “Plan C” is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I would not change one thing in my life. All three of my kids are in middle school now, although it seems like just yesterday that they were born. It amazes me that they are all practically teenagers and I still act like one.  If you see me around campus, I still dress like a teenager with my Mohawk, earrings, and tattoos. I don’t think I will ever “act my age.” My advice to you is simple: plan, but plan in pencil. You never know what life is going to throw at you. I would like to end this article with a quote from the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferris said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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